Go stories?

Often experienced OTB players have a lot of interesting stories about peculiar events related to go. Sometimes they have morals, sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re just something to talk about. Does anyone have go stories worth sharing? Maybe trivia? Or club legend?


There is a 5 dan player who runs the official Go club in the city who I shall address as Mr. Li. Being someone who has played the game for 30 years, he has amassed a lot of fame in the amateur scene in China. Often he would tell us some of his stories, here’s one of them…

In some amateur tournaments in China, there are a lot players who play dirty. For Mr. Li’s game in the quarterfinals, he was scheduled to play an opponent who is “supposedly” absent. Those who were absent for longer than 15 minutes after the round begins lose automatically. Turns out his opponent had already arrived, but was hiding in an obscure place behind a few decorative pillars in the venue. It wasn’t until about 13 minutes into the round did he actually come out from hiding and greet Mr. Li. Some people do this to create a psychological effect in their opponent. It is trying to give false hope of an automatic win, before showing up and stage an upset. Apparently this technique can work really well on some people, throwing them off balance in their entire game. However, Mr. Li did something just as dirty.

Anyway, on with the story. It follows that during the mid game, Mr. Li had miscalculated his position, and two very critical cutting stones are caught in a ladder. The ladder is very complex, and there are many turning points in the ladder, thus requiring a lot of calculation. Mr. Li spotted this and realized there was no way to save those stones. So he waited, and pretended he was thinking very seriously. He waited about ten minutes acting this way, and played one move on the ladder (trying to run out the ladder that doesn’t work). The opponent, seeing this, immediately followed up with the ladder atari. Mr. Li paused again, waiting another 20 minutes, looking “as serious as if your life depended on it” as he puts it, before playing another ladder move. Now his opponent was doubting himself. He had heard of Mr. Li’s fame and achievement record, so naturally he thought maybe he had miscalculated, and that the ladder actually doesn’t work for him.

So yeah, Mr. Li’s opponent tenukied, and Mr. Li quickly saved those laddered stones. Mr. Li eventually won the game. After the game, Mr. Li told him those stones were actually dead, and that he had planned on resigning had he kept trying to capture them. His opponent was shocked but too embarrassed to mention the cheap trick he played for he knew he was no better :smiley:

The game of Go is a lot more than what you see on the board. 盘外招 is the Chinese phrase for “tricks outside the board” Of course, I don’t recommend trying any of it :wink:


thanks for sharing

An Embarrassing Position: From ‘The Game of Wei-Chi’ by D. Pecorini & Tong Shu

It is said that a first-rate player was summoned by the Emporer to play a game of Wei-Chi. He thought that if he were to win he might be considered lacking in respect for the Emperor, so he played some weak moves. The Emperor perceived this, and said: “How can a player of your class play so as to lose the game?”

The master of Wei-Chi feared then that he had compromised himself by not having played seriously and during the night studied the adjourned game so carefully that the next morning in a few moves he achieved a draw.


Turns out his opponent had already arrived, but was hiding in an obscure place behind a few decorative pillars in the venue. It wasn’t until about 13 minutes into the round did he actually come out from hiding

This is hilarious. More Go stories!


I wanted to open a new topic for my story, but I saw this old one, with surprisingly few stories, and it fit here.

Funny thing, the story takes place in a tournament started 2 years later by the same author of this thread :slight_smile:

To understand the story better, you need to know few details about me.
First of all, I am not smart, in childhood I even was considered retarded.
But somehow, without learning too much, I beat severely those who taught me go.
I was dubbed the savant idiot.
Our community is small, so I got bored of go, with no challenge.
I never understood my friends. Going to competitions.
So much travel, for few games, and mostly lose.
They convinced me to get online to see my rank.
So is close to one dan. Big deal.
I was already bored by go. did not played much.
My friends convinced me to get in this competition to see me lose more games.
Lost half of them, my friends are happy.

And now the story begins.
Finished 8 games.
But in the 9th the opponent acted childish. He always moved in the last day.
At first I was annoyed. To get online daily for nothing.
Next I got the hang, check weekly, no problem.
Then I saw the quarrel in the chat. I got annoyed again. Deliberate dragging is rude.
Did not thought at that before.
I get the idea of playing slow. Yes some people think slow, not instant like me.
Some people are busy, unlike me. They will find time to play now and then.
Sometime need a week, sometime more.
But to move in last day, is obviously deliberate.
A busy person will not have time to check daily, to be sure of not losing on time.
And moving in the last 24 hours is really stupid.
To drag the game is enough to move after a week, and keep some time for emergencies.
So I did not understood why he behaved like that, and I got annoyed.
I understand the romantic of a game played along a lifetime by two buddies visiting a cabin every year, but never meet.
But I did not understood that behavior. And I got upset.
Oh, I forgot to mention that something is wrong with my brain.
Some things are pushing me to anxiety. Sometimes quite bad.
I felt that this is going the wrong way so I changed the game.
I started a mental game of influencing his mind, to make him forget about the game and lose.
I know, is stupid. I do not believe in telepathy. Or any paranormal brain activities.
Even I have the proof for the opposite.
Once I heard about the brain being able to influence the dice.
And sure, too often it comes what we ask.
So I tested. Threw one hundreds of times. Wrote down the series to see the pattern.
Always one number was ahead with two or three, but not the same number.
Next I tested willing one certain number.
Surprisingly, always the one I willed was ahead a little.
But since the willed one was not at least double than the rest, the paranormal may be there, but with no force.
So, I hoped that I could channel my anxiety and influence his brain to forget about go in the day he needed to move in my game.
Now the stupid game became fun :slight_smile:
Obviously, I did not blocked his brain. He continued to move.
But I have done this for only ten maybe 15 moves. I was still confident:)
However, last month I was forced to move on a new computer.
I kind of hit a brick wall of bad luck. Nothing worked.
So weeks passed till I moved my ways in the new computer.
So with all that anxiety I totally forgot about that stupid game.
Now, when I remembered. I was sure that I lost on time.
It passed more than a month. so only maybe with the help of weekends I could still have time.
I log in, and surprise. Me, the moron, did not lost on time. It was the other idiot :))
I am not sure if any of you will find this being funny.
But for me is sure funny as hell :slight_smile: it really made my day.

Now I am scaring myself. What if my telepathy sessions worked with a delay?

:slight_smile: I will never know :slight_smile:


I used to take my son to the Kids and Teens Go Club in Boulder, Colorado (USA). It was in the kids section in the Boulder public library. There were several regular adult players who taught new kids the rules (including myself), and played teaching games (and regular games) with the kids. My son, a then 9 year old 28kyu developed an interesting strategy for playing high handicap games against much stronger opponents (low kyu level). He would play on the 3-3 points securing the corners, then defensively build or tenuki for the next 40 moves (approximately). He managed to beat most of the adult players at-least a few times in 9-stone handicap games using this strategy. I think it worked because it caught his opponents by surprise. By the time they got around to counting, they realized they were behind and couldn’t capture anything or form any living group behind the dense frameworks my son had made. This earned him the nickname of Mr Tenuki.


On the SL page Fish Tesuji I found this story from John Trotter:

This is a story of something that happened to me in a small tournament in San Diego, back in the 80’s. I think it was a Mcmahon tournament and I had been doing pretty well in the lower bracket. I went to my next match and found my opponent sitting at the table with a fish-bowl - containing a live fish. I introduced myself and asked about the fish. He told me that the fish was the one playing, and that he was only there to put the stones on the board.

I thought he was joking, but as the round started, he spent most of his time staring at the fish before making his moves. Sometimes he would ask questions - “The top one?” “Are you sure?” “Which side?”. I was a little annoyed, but I decided to just concentrate on the game. We both played a fairly calm game, until he made a deep invasion that I was sure was an overplay. I attacked him, and it turned into a huge fight. I wound up with more liberties, though, and was able to start chasing his group around. As this went on, he started questioning the fish more and more, sounding exasperated. He even started shouting at it, and at one point walked away for several minutes before coming back and apologizing. To the fish.

I was sure at this point that I would win, but I was getting more and more distracted by his antics, and I eventually missed a shortage of liberties and lost a huge group. I resigned shortly afterwards. I won the rest of my games, and if it weren’t for the fish, I would have won the tourney in my bracket.


A friend from my Go club started playing Go in his teens more than 50 years ago. By the time he went to university, he was already pretty good (borderline Dan level probably). A few days in, there was a knock at his door. He answered and there was a guy stood there who said, “I hear you’re a Go player. Shall we have a game?” My friend replied, “Of course!”.

My friend knew he was pretty good so he expected an easy win or at least an even game…

But ancient Go proverb say: “Never underestimate your opponent!”… :wink:

My friend’s new acquaintance went on to give him a thorough beating. This other guy was running rings around my friend! Whether it ended in resignation or a huge margin I can’t remember but my friend was well and truly dominated. After the surprise thrashing my friend asked, “How did you…? What… What happened?” The other guy replied, “Oh! Did I forget to mention…? I’m the current British champion Go player!” :rofl:


I have kind of an unusual story that I highly doubt anyone can relate to:

Early on when I was first starting to figure the game out and was maybe about a 10 kyu, I played a game with someone on OGS. Just a random person who I had never played with before from the luck of chance by offering a live challenge on the main OGS page. Some time into the game this person said “brb”, and proceeded to pause the game momentarily. I being so drawn away from texting abbreviations like that in my earlier years, had no idea what this meant and did not think to Google it. However, I thought he might soon come back to game and so I charitably decided to wait for a moment. I did not have terrific patience back in those days and so after only two minutes, I resumed the game to try and time him out. This wasn’t nice, but I could be a little overly competitive with my opponents back then and nothing seemed better than getting a little boost to my prized rank at that particular moment.

My opponent came back a couple of minutes later, and I quickly stated that I resumed the game because I thought he would not come back, though I was greatly embarrassed because I realized I had been too impatient. The game ended and I don’t remember the outcome, but here comes the funny part: I decided to dwell on what “brb” could possibly mean for a couple of minutes. Then I got super hot with a new shame and embarrassment all of a sudden. I thought I came to correctly realize that “brb” was short for “bathroom break.” Thus I thought that my opponent had paused the game because he needed to use the restroom, and even worse was that I had said “I didn’t think you would come back.” The worst of it was that he didn’t respond when I tried to explain myself, so the evidence lined up perfectly. I thought that I had embarrassed him and that he believed I was deliberately being inappropriate in a nasty way. I did not mean any of this, but I was worried for days that I would get banned by a moderator, and nothing brought greater fear to me than loosing the ability to play my beloved game. Nothing happened, and I eventually forgot about the whole thing for awhile.

It wasn’t until over a year later that I learned “brb” was really simply an abbreviation for “be right back,” and thus that I was incorrect. I laughed myself silly as this event was the first thing that popped back into my head when I learned this.


Fishy!!! :rofl:

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From Tamsin’s Sensei’s Library blog, 21st September 2008

The game in question is Yamashita–Cho '08 (NEC). It was in this year that the incumbent Yamashita rebuffed Cho Chikun’s challenge for the Kisei title, which was Cho’s last title match in any big seven tournament.

On Saturday I went to see the NEC Cup, a round of which was played in the NTT Cred Hall in Hiroshima City. The first match was Cho Chikun against Yamashita Keigo, while the second was Kono Rin against Iyama Yuta. It was my first time attending a pro match, and it was a fascinating spectacle. On the stage there was a mockup of a Japanese tea room, with a goban and seats in the middle, while to the right there was a giant display board (a really impressive size - I`d guess at least the size of a snooker table). After some speeches (this being Japan, after all, long preambles are de rigeur) Rin Kaiho was introduced, along with a young woman professional who is on the NHK go show every week as a record-keeper. Then, Yamashita and Cho, and the officials walked in from the back, lit up by a following spotlight, as though they were boxers entering the arena.

I brought along binoculars to get a better look at the stage, and because I wanted to know what these famous people looked like up close and personal. I was amazed at Yamashita`s appearance - he is such a dandy! His clothes were so tasteful and elegant: a pinstripe suit with subtle reflective threads woven in, an unusually shaped tie with jewelled tiepin, and jewelled collar buttons and a very pretty ornament of some kind on his buttonhole. Cho, on the other hand, looked every bit the eccentric genius. I wonder if a comb has ever touched his head - his hair seems to go in all directions, and he really has the look of somebody who gets his breakfast by sticking his fingers into the mains rather than eating as ordinary folks do. He shuffles and stumbles about, and he seemed a bit unsure where to sit - he looked bemused when directed to sit in the seat of honour for the nigiri.

The game was great. Although I was cheering for Yamashita, I thought Cho was on top form. He made one of his groups live at the last moment, and then killed a large group in ko to secure an unassailable lead. Yamashita had to resign. Rin Kaiho`s commentary was very helpful, as he and the other professional pointed out various alternative continuations. I was suprised at how light-hearted their commentary was, and how they often made the audience laugh, even while the board was on fire. It was very interesting that no attempt was made to shield the players from hearing the commentary, and yet they seemed completely immersed, oblivious to what was going on around them. Of course, the commentators could show variations, and without naming the coordinates it was doubtful that the players would have been able to follow the commentary exactly, and besides, they were doubtless seeing a great deal more than Rin was able to show anyway.

Towards the end, although he was clearly leading, Cho gave himself a good slap on the cheek. And he really hit himself hard, too - the crack was quite audible! I wonder what he was castigating himself for.

Afterwards, Yamashita and Cho gave their thoughts on the game. I had always thought that Cho must be a really intense, sombre kind of person, but actually he is very charismatic and entertaining. Yamashita was understandably more subdued but, silly detail to notice as it is, I was surprised at how deep his voice is. He is smaller than Cho, and Cho is not very tall, but his voice is a booming bass! It`s always funny to find out how well known people are always completely different to what you expected when you either meet them or see them from close quarters.


I found this story about BenGoZen and professional Myungwan Kim (of old GoGameGuru fame), from the 1st Washington Open Baduk Championship, 2014.

After Round 4, Myung Wan Kim (9p) and I grabbed our bento boxes (unfortunately I didn’t take a photo this time, but I got the galbi [ribs] one) and I took him back to the hotel so he could rest / work on other things (since there was a few hours gap before he had to be back).

When I dropped him off, he asked me to pick him up around 3:10pm. So when I arrived back at the tournament, I looked at the time.

“1:00pm is when Round 5 starts,” I thought, “And assuming my game takes even just the main time alone, I would be over time and late picking up Myung.”

With my record at 2-2, I seriously debated not playing in the 5th round and taking a buy. After all, 2-2 isn’t a bad record to end the tournament with right?

A good part of this was my insecurity at the prospects of possibly ending the tournament with a record of 2-3 and losing the final round, but I realized quickly that it was stupid. I decided to simply play in the 5th Round, and if push came to shove, I would resign the game if it took too long because I wanted to make sure I would pick up Myung on time.

Before I knew it, the fifth round pairings were up. My opponent was a 4 kyu that I knew from the area. There would be no handicap and I was taking white. (…)

When the game was coming close to the end, time was also drawing near as well. It was around 2:30pm when I had begun my final hunt to kill the group on the top; but my opponent still had plenty of time left on his clock, so I couldn’t fault him for trying to take the time to make sure he was really dead. However, with time drawing close, I began mentally preparing myself to resign and simply be satisfied with the game that I had played.

As you might imagine, I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked my lucky stars when he resigned. “Hoorah!” I thought, “ I still can go pickup Myung with time to spare!” And with that, I went to report my results and went off to pick him up.


From Yutopian’s page. Poem formatting from MySanRenSei.

Go is a game with the longest history. Once addicted, most people cannot shake the hobby. Its addicting power is not less than that of alcohol and sex. Thus Go has a nick name which passed on for generations, known as the “Wooden Fox”. There is a saying that, “the game of 19 lines subdued countless people.”

According to the legend, the second Emperor of Bei Song Dynasty, Guang Yi (976-997 A.D.) loved the game of Go, as mentioned in many unofficial historical events. A monk called Wen Ying of the Song Dynasty wrote in “Xiang Shan Ye Lu”, that Emperor Guang Yi had a Go Servant called Jia Xuan who was known to supply the Emperor with exquisite Go game records to please him. Because of this, most of the high ranking officials were unhappy. Some even suggested to impeach Jia Xuan for leading the Emperor astray by indulging the Emperor in Go. The officials urged the Emperor to give up Go and pay more attention to the administration. The Emperor knew that he could not ignore these officials, and found an excuse saying, “I know exactly what you mean, I was simply using Go as an excuse to stay away from my concubines of the six palaces. There is no need to discuss this further. Wild sex is worse than Go; and indeed only Go can help to resist the temptation of three thousand concubines from the six palaces.” After hearing this, the officials weighed the pros and cons between wild sex and Go, and decided that Go was indeed better than wild sex and thus put the issue to rest.

Actually, Emperor Guang Yi did not lie entirely. He was so busy with Go that he hardly had any time left for his concubines. Throughout history, there were countless examples of people indulging in Go to the extent that they neglected their daily affairs. For example, Zheng Xia of the Song Dynasty loved Go so much that he would force any visitor of his to play Go with him. In case the visitor did not know how to play Go, he would still insist that the visitor stay behind so that he could put up a show of his left hand playing Go against his right hand. Of course, a lot of stories about the addiction of Go have been exaggerated. The longer the history of the story, the less credible the story became. Some stories even made their way into the literature. For example, Pu SongLing wrote in “Liao Zhai Zhi Yi” that there was a ghost who loved Go so much that he lost his life over it. One day, the ghost couldnt find any body to play Go with in Hell, so he decided to look for a Go partner among the living. As soon as he started the game, he couldnt stop playing. When the morning came, this ghost was arrested by the Hell guards and as a punishment, he was thrown into the 18th Hell, with no chance for reincarnation. This ghost loved Go so much that he lost his life. Po wrote a poem in “Liao Zhai Zhi Yi” to record this incident,

For him who spent all day on one game of Go.
For him who neglected his daily job.
Dont feel sorry for him who gave up his life over a hobby.
His fate was decided before his game was.

Check Yutopian’s broader Go Stories page as well.

I found this story related by Fairbairn on L19.

Last week saw events marking the 2011 East Japan earthquake. This included some reminiscences from pros of what they were doing at the time.

One that I missed at the time was Xie Yimin’s unusual sealed move. It was Game 2 of the 23rd Women’s Meijin against Mukai Chiaki. It was held on the 6th floor of the Nihon Ki-in. They knew it was serious when something black fell from the ceiling.

After consulting with the scorekeeper they decided to stop and seal the move. Xie said it was a tricky position and she desperately wanted more time to think, but, shaking life a leaf, she just scribbled something down and rushed off. With transport disrupted she didn’t get home till midnight. The game could not be resumed until 12 days later and Xie spent the time worrying about whether she had written her move down correctly. It turned out she had, and she went on to win. She went on to win the title.

One disadvantage of floor boards is that you can’t hide under them.


Hmmm… :thinking:

I don’t think my love for Go would be that strong!

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You could always bring a Go set along with you and have a game when you got tired.

Seems in character for a courtesan, at least, if not a concubine…

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Hmm, concubine derives from concumbo / concubeo, a Latin verb meaning to sleep – or “sleep” – with.

cubo is also the root of succubus and incubus. And cubicle.